Historical Overview Section
The Illyrians formed several kingdoms in the central Balkans, and the first known Illyrian king was Bardyllis. Illyrian kingdoms were often at war with ancient Macedonia, and the Illyrian pirates were also a significant danger to neighbouring peoples.
At the delta of Neretva, there was a strong Hellenistic influence on the Illyrian tribe of Daors. Their capital was Daorson located in Ošanići near Stolac in Herzegovina, which became the main center of classical Illyrian culture. Daorson, during the 4th century BC, was surrounded by megalithic, 5 meter high stonewalls (large as those of Mycenae in Greece), composed out of large trapeze stones blocks. Daors also made unique bronze coins and sculptures. The Illyrians even conquered Classical Greek colonies on the Dalmatian islands. Queen Teuta of Issa (today Vis) (the Island, not the comic) was famous for having waged wars against the Romans.
In 385 BC, the Molossians were attacked by Illyrians instigated and aided by Dionysius the Syracusan. Dionysius planned to control all the Ionian Sea. Sparta had intervened as soon as the events became known and forced out the Illyrians who were led by Bardyllis. Despite being aided by 2000 Greek hoplites and five hundred suits of Greek armour, the Illyrians were defeated by the Spartans led by Agesilaus but not before ravaging the region and killing 15,000 Molossians. In 360 BC, another Illyrian attack forced the Molossian king Arymbas to evacuate his non-combatant population to Aetolia and let the Illyrians loot freely. The stratagem worked and the Molossians fell upon the Illyrians who were encumbered with booty and defeated them. Apollodorus mentions a war between the Enchelaeae led by Cadmus and Harmonia and the Illyrians. Pausanias mentions a number of Illyrian raids against the Epirotes. Illyrians were also attacked by the Gallic army of Brennus led by Belgius or Bolgious. The Illyrians also attacked the Classical Greek Aetolians when they were about to change strategus and raided the city of Medion taking booty and slaves.
The Illyrians used javelins to thrust offensively at their enemies, and oval shields but no armor or greaves except for the elite. They used Negau helmets, Pot helmets with a rim, wicker helmets with metal plates also called disc and stud helmets. and adopted the Ancient Greek "Illyrian" type helmet. Overall, they functioned as a military variant of the peltasts. They used short spears, single-handed axes that could be hurled, and swords. They used only open faced helmets and they resembled Celtic equipment of the Hallstatt culture to a great degree. From an organizational standpoint, the Illyrians were not a united tribal force and thus fought with a distinct lack of real military coordination. Their fighting techniques seemed to rely heavily on individual accomplishments rather than on coordinated units like the Greek phalanx or the Roman legion. In 359 BC, King Perdiccas III the Early Macedonian King became a Late Macedonian when he was killed by attacking Illyrians in his failed attempt to reconquer Upper Macedonia. In 358 BC, however, Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, utterly crushed the Illyrians and assumed control of their territory as far as Lake Ohrid with his Alexandrian Macedonian-style army
The Illyrians fought against many ancient peoples, but they ultimately fell to the Mid Republican Romans after the Illyrian Wars during the 1st century BC and failed to breakaway from the Roman Empire during the Great Illyrian Revolt. Illyrian territories would later become provinces of the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire.
Using the army in ADLG
- The 4 LC Javelin with the Paonian ally might be surprisingly threatening to armies with less LC, or bow-only ones
- The Medium Swordsmen are quite handy, not being impetuous like most barbarian types in this era
User-contributed links about this army. Add links in this format:
- Illyrians.org Can you get more relevant than this?
- downloaable pdf about Illyrian Piracy
- Illyrians DBA Figure Gallery for this army - from Fanaticus
Sample army lists for this army
- 3 of these
- 4 of these